Track 3- Live It Out
The number one complaint I’ve heard over the years from Christians and non-Christians alike is the hypocrisy in the Church. Now allow me to first state my disapproval of generalizing ANY group of people. For instance, not all Asians are mathematical geniuses, not all Irishmen are drunkards, not all African-Americans are violent, not all Arabs are Muslim, not all Muslims are terrorists who hate the West, and not all Christians are hypocrites as the world would probably describe. There are of course people in these groups who have built a foundation for, and fueled the fires of, these stereotypes but it’s not a good habit to assume that what’s true of said person is necessarily true of the collective. We live in a culture (that is, a more liberal American worldview) that frowns upon stereotyping and yet embraces it on both a conscious and subconscious level often times in varying ways and to varying degrees.
That being said we Christians are responsible for our behavior and most of us really need to do a better job of living up to the standard that God has called us to (myself included). In the nine (nearly ten!) years since Jesus saved me in January of 2004, I have learned a lot about Him. He has loved me and taught me; He has guided me and chastened me, and though His death I have become a part of God’s family. But one thing I’ve not learned well is the true nature of the Law (the Law of Moses in the Old Testament).
In recent weeks the Lord has led me to think A LOT about the Law, and to be honest, I’ve not studied the Law for two primary reasons:
- All my life, I have struggled with rebellion. Now I behaved myself for the most part in my teens, but as a child (and my mother is welcome to testify in the comments), I was a very rebellious little boy. I remember mocking the discipline from my family, disrespectful and defiant behavior toward my grandparents, and I would disobey and push the limits WAY beyond what normal kids would do just to do it. At one point in my adult life my mother even told me that when I was a boy she would cry herself to sleep fearing that I would end up in prison someday. We both thank God that He got to me.Later on, particularly toward the end of high school, I found myself compelled to a more rebellious heart. I wasn’t acting out, but I was convinced that the authorities were against us and that we would have to rise against the establishment. I would listen to groups like Green Day and System of a Down which added fuel to the fire. It caused my heart to see the powers in the world as the enemy and I had a responsibility to stand up a fight back which is what attracted me to Marxist philosophy in college (particularly his works Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts and Lenin’s infamous State and Revolution). God has revealed to me over the last few weeks that all of my life I have been oppressed by a demonic spirit of defiance. I’ll talk more about this in a future post, but the second reason I’ve not studied the Law is,
- I’ve just not been interested in reading them. There are 613 laws in the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Numbers) and, frankly, that’s not really my idea of recreational reading. I like history so I’m pretty solid through Genesis and Exodus, but I have a hard time once I hit Leviticus especially when it starts repeating things. But just so you know, when the Bible repeats itself, it means PAY ATTENTION, kind of like when your professor says something and then repeats it three or four times in a row.
In the last month Mars Hill Church in Seattle has started a great sermon series called The Ten Commandments (you can watch/listen here) and in the sermon on the first commandment I was struck. I realized that I’ve been looking at it all wrong. The Law isn’t just a bunch of commands to keep us in line and to oppress us to keep us from doing what we want; they are fatherly rules to keep us from doing things that will cause suffering for ourselves and others, to help us do what we ought, and to remind us that we can only do what is right through Christ.
My friends we are hypocrites much of the time because we’ve all fallen short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23). The whole world is full of hypocrites, but we’re supposed to be set apart. Jesus prays for us in His High Priestly prayer that we would be set apart in the world (John 17) and we need to own that individually and collectively. That doesn’t mean we withdraw ourselves from the world, but that we live in a way that honors God and gives Him glory rather than ourselves or anyone else.
We are lost and broken people
Turned our crosses into steeples
Let’s take them down
And put them on our backs now
Keep your love on track now
‘Cause this is an emergency
Can you feel the urgency now
It’s time for us to love out loud
Take what we know
And live it out
This could be the start of a new day
We could be the change
If we take this love and live it out